Johnnie Ramos Gonsalez

By Alyson Espino

Johnnie Gonsalez can't recall much of his time serving in the military, but he remembers how grateful he was to make it back home alive.

Born in the small city of Florence, Kansas, Gonsalez grew up with three brothers and two sisters. He boxed with his brothers for fun in the backyard and stuck closely to his mother and father. By the sixth grade, Gonsalez had dropped out of school and begun working as a flagman on the railroad lines with his father.

Although he grew up during the Great Depression, he never felt it hit home.

Diego Campa

By Elizabeth Wilder

Diego Campa wanted nothing more than to live a simple American life while retaining his Mexican heritage.

Campa’s family and friends held lively celebrations of Mexican culture, but outside this cocoon -- even at church -- he faced constant reminders Mexicans weren’t always considered true Americans by mainstream society.

Campa was born Nov. 3, 1922, in Florence, Kan. His parents, Perfecto and Benita Campa, came to America in 1913 from Irapuato, in Guanajuato, Mexico.

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